[photo, Federal Hill Park, Baltimore, Maryland] In Maryland, State planning is the responsibility of the Department of Planning. The Department is the lead agency in implementing Maryland's "Smart Growth" policy, designed to direct development to already developed areas and away from farmland, open spaces, and natural resources.

Federal Hill Park, Baltimore, Maryland, May 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Red Cedars (Juniperus virginiana), Owings (Anne Arundel County), Maryland] Within the Department of Natural Resources, the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays reviews and approves proposed changes to local critical area plans, proposals by a State or local government agency which might lead to major development within a critical area, and State projects on State-owned land within a critical area.

In addition, the General Assembly addresses concerns about planning through the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, the House Environment and Transportation Committee and the House Health and Government Operations Committee.

Red Cedars (Juniperus virginiana), Owings (Anne Arundel County), Maryland, May 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Red barn, Kent County, Maryland] Through intercounty agencies, local governments coordinate regional planning in certain areas.

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council is the regional planning agency for metropolitan Baltimore, for example, while the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has jurisdiction over parks and planning in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission provides water and sewerage treatment for those two counties as well.

Red barn, Kent County, Maryland, April 2002. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland] County and municipal governments also oversee local departments of planning, which typically handle land use and environmental planning, and permits, inspections, and zoning, as well as transportation planning.

Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland, April 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

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